- Psychologists at Northwestern University have found that ‘creative geniuses’ tend to be more distracted by noise than the average person.
- Although people generally filter out irrelevant information, psychologists believe that those who find it difficult to block out noise such as the ticking of a clock have a ‘leaky’ sensory gate.
- Lead author of the study Darya Zabelina states that this hypersensitivity could lead to creativity because the brain is processing more information than the average person and therefore widening their scope of attention.
- To support this, two thinking tests were carried out by the researchers, one of which contained a series of beeps to register participants’ brain activity.
- The findings are said to indicate that creative people do tend to be more sensitive to sounds in their environment.
- One of the benefits of this hypersensitivity was said to be an ability to make connections between distantly related ideas or concepts.
- The study seems to explain the abnormal sensitivity to noise experienced by creative geniuses such as Charles Darwin and Marcel Proust, the latter of which actually lined his walls with cork to block out sound.
- The study was published in the March issue of Neuropsychologia.